The Top Skin Concern Dermatologists See Each Winter
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that skin that lacks moisture can look and feel dry. As soon as the near-freezing winter temps begin to kick in and the artificial heat mode gets switched to “on,” the battle with dry skin rages forward—and will likely last until we are greeted with spring’s colorful blooms. And so, it should come as absolutely no surprise that the #1 skin care concern dermatologists see each and every winter is—you guessed it!—dry skin.
“Forced hot air heating will often dry out the skin very quickly,” says board-certified dermatologist, and Skincare.com consultant Dr. Michael Kaminer. “Especially in colder climates, we see this as soon as the temperature drops.” And it’s not just scaly legs and arms you’ll have to deal with. Cracked hands, chapped lips, and rough skin texture are all fair game. “Other problems can include itchy skin, rashes, and simply older-looking skin,” adds Kaminer. Remember: Dry skin doesn’t cause wrinkles, but it can certainly accentuate their appearance. When skin is dehydrated or dry, flaws like wrinkling, creping, sagging, and flaking will appear more exaggerated. (Need a primer on the connection between dry skin and wrinkles? Read this.) While none of that sounds like a good time, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. If you follow good skin habits, you can help kick dry, winter skin to the curb. Because let’s face it: The only flakes we should be seeing this season are snowflakes. Ahead, tips on how to scoot through the season without drying your skin up like a prune.
Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize
This is perhaps the best thing you can do for your dry skin...from head-to-toe. “The key is to moisturize more than you might in warmer climates,” says Kaminer. In addition to moisturizing more frequently than you would in the summertime, you’ll also want to swap in a product that’s a bit more heavy-duty. (Psst—We share some of our favorite rich and thick moisturizers here!) But don’t just apply your formula of choice willy-nilly. “Apply moisturizer immediately after getting out of the shower or bath,” Kaminer recommends. “This is when your skin is most hydrated and the moisturizers can help seal it in.”
Skip the Hot Showers
Speaking of showers, be mindful of the water temperature. While a scorching hot shower can feel relaxing on a cold, winter day, it comes with its own set of consequences, among which is drier-than-dry—not to mention potentially irritated—skin. What you should do instead is take shorter, lukewarm showers. This can help ensure that your skin’s outer moisture barrier is not stripped and irritated by hot water. As stated earlier, don’t forget to apply a thick moisturizer while skin is still damp!
Protect Your Pout
The delicate skin on the lips is more susceptible to drying out compared to the rest of the skin on our bodies. Never leave home without a trusty lip balm or emollient in your purse! Kiehl’s Lip Relief is a great treatment to keep on-hand to help hydrate and comfort parched lips anywhere, any time.
Invest in a Humidifier
Artificial heat can suck the life out of your skin, but there’s not always a way to avoid it. If you’re at home, turn on a humidifier while you have the heat running to help replace some of that moisture in the air. If you’re at the office, keep a face mist—like Vichy Mineralizing Thermal Water—on your desk and spritz yourself continuously throughout the day. This mineral-rich formula can not only help refresh tired, fatigued looking skin, but can also help reinforce skin’s natural barrier so it’s more resistant to environmental aggressors.